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_Anatomies of the Automaton

automation: control, humanism, dangers and conflicts


1. The most advanced robots are killer robots that will soon do the war for us. With what weapons will we prevent these victorious robots from turning against us?
2. Since Coppélia don’t we dream about the dangerous relationship called by our automaton creatures?
3. With all these mechanical transplants and implants  that are curing and augmenting our capacities, will there be a time when our organic self is nothing but a mere residue, the ultimate pretense of a natural identity?

_Christian Bernard, Director, Mamco, Geneva.

The Anatomies of the Automaton exhibition was born from the encounter between a project and a context. The project are the investigations of Mamco on the culture of the automaton as it relates to literature, art and science. The position of La Panacée in the emblematic history of medicine in Montpellier which before turning into a a center of contemporary culture was alternately Collège Royal de Médecine, Ecole de Pharmacie and Institut de Chimie

That is how we quite naturally came to propose an exhibit putting in perspective the automaton with medical thinking and an anthropology of the mechanistic man / machine relationship. Framed by anatomical research, the theme of Man-machine has triggered many philosophical, scientific and medical debates and controversies,  in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries—debates that have taken on particular importance in Montpellier with the Ecole Vitaliste for which vital dynamism borrows mechanist patterns without being subordinated to them—certainly ancient debates, but nonetheless suggestive as we live in environments where we coexist with machines that sometimes borrow organic characteristics.

Anatomies of the Automaton probes a context that is at once historical and ultra-contemporary. The exhibit awakens resonance between history and present, creations and context, art and science. Calling for echoes is also to question the viewing and to create meaning. On this occasion the ancient paths linking La Panacée at the Facultée de Médecine were reopened as if the city was a palimpsest to be continually rediscovered. Partnerships with the University of Montpellier were established to broaden and deepen dialogues around anatomy andautomation, and to present objects and books from these collections.

If in the words of the British artist Douglas Gordon, “Art should be an excuse for a good conversation.” we can only hope that the converstions that led to the design of the exhibit will continue with the visitors.
_Franck Bauchard, Artistic Director of La panacée

Wed, November 25 2015 » creative, culture